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April 1 - June 24, 2011

Elissa Cox, “pulling.reaching.longing”

Free, public reception: Friday, April 1, from 5:00 to 8:30 pm

TThe International Museum of Surgical Science (IMSS) is pleased to present pulling.reaching.longing, a large-scale, site-specific installation by contemporary artist Elissa Cox, from April 1 through June 24, 2011. This exhibition, the latest in the Museum’s ongoing “Anatomy in the Gallery” program, conjures a fantastical dreamscape of the body’s interior that is both grand and grotesque.

pulling.reaching.longing comprises massive organic forms made of cloth, wax, plaster, and latex, as well as found objects including natural tree branches. Four branches descend from a translucent membrane on the ceiling of the gallery, evoking engorged blood vessels bulging beneath a tenuously thin layer of skin. Inspired by varicose veins that push the surface of the skin to its limits, Cox has magnified these corporeal shapes to larger-than-life sizes in order to create an uncanny landscape and dramatize the dynamics between the surface, structure, senses, and sensations of the body. The artist says, “My materials become entangled in space to compose invented habitats that attempt to reveal fantasy through concrete form. This fantasy is intended to personify a view of life that exudes energy, vitality, rawness, beauty, and sublime decadence—examining the gap between the ordinary and the extraordinary.”

Elissa Cox received a BFA from the University of Minnesota in 2003 and was awarded an MFA from Ohio University in 2007. Her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions at Yorkarts in York, PA and the New Art Center in Boston, as well as solo shows at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland, the HUB Robinson Gallery at Penn State University in University Park, PA, and the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art in Indiana. Another one-person exhibition is upcoming in 2012 at the Steckline Gallery in Wichita, KS. Since 2008 Cox has taught as an Assistant Professor of Art and Art History at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, IA. More information about the artist and her work are available at www.elissacoxstudio.com.

This exhibition is the latest in the Museum's ongoing "Anatomy in the Gallery" program, which showcases medically inspired contemporary art within the context of the Museum's historical exhibits and artifacts. The Museum has exhibited this artwork since 1998 in accordance with its mission: to enrich the lives of its visitors by enhancing their appreciation and understanding of medicine.


This project is partially sponsored by a CityArts Program 2 grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


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Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10 am to 4 pm
Wednesday: 10 am to 4 pm
Thursday: 10 am to 4 pm
Friday: 10 am to 4 pm
Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm

Last admission will be taken one hour before the closing time.